San Jose Sharks center Ryan Donato (16) chases Anaheim Ducks center Isac Lundestrom (48) in the third period at SAP Center in San Jose on Tue Apr 6, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Matthew Harrington
The San Jose Sharks failed to keep pace with the team above them in the West Division, dropping Monday night’s home contest against the visiting Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal for San Jose who failed to bridge the five point gap between the fourth place Arizona and themselves with the cellar-dwelling Ducks (12-21-7) in town. John Gibson made 34 saves for Anaheim and Adam Henrique, Maxime Comtois, Isaac Lundestrom, David Backes and Nicolas Deslauriers lit the lamp for the Ducks.
The Sharks (17-17-4) entered play Monday night with four consecutive wins in their pockets and newfound swagger that they could be in the playoff chase. While the box score will make the contest look close, San Jose came out flat, a surprise given they had two days off in a season filled back-to-backs and three games in five night scenarios.
Just 5:55 into play the Ducks caught San Jose flat-footed. Henrique worked his way into the center lane unmarked, took a Danton Heinen pass and beat Martin Jones for his 11th goal. If that wasn’t an indicator the Sharks didn’t have “it” Monday night, the Ducks 31st ranked power play struck 24 seconds into the second period on Comtois 11th of the year.
Marleau answered with a Sharks power play goal of their own on some pretty passing just over a minute later to make it 2-1 Anaheim, but in a sequence where the Sharks thought the puck was frozen put Jones never had possession of it, Lundestrom was able to take the puck behind the net and put it in on the other side 2:44 into the second.
Emblematic of the night San Jose was having, Ducks pugilist Nicolas Deslauriers had a Troy Terry shot bounce off a Sharks defenseman horizontally and land perfectly on his stick. Even a player known for what his hands do off the stick more than on it could finish this play with the gaping net, so in it went for Deslauriers’ fourth with 4:41 left in the second. David Backes scored an empty netter early in the third period for the final score.
If the rest made the Sharks rusty, then their next contest may be of concern. The Sharks are off until Friday when they welcome the Los Angeles Kings to town for a Friday-Saturday set. The two games will be the final two before Monday’s trade deadline.
Notes: Marc-Edouard Vlasic was out of the line-up Monday, Christian Jaros took his place and made his Sharks debut…Jeffrey Viel and Anaheim’s Desluariers dropped the gloves at the 13:51 mark of the first period…Sharks coach Bob Boughner was aggressive with the goalie pull, pulling Martin Jones with over seven minutes left trailing by three…Noah Gregor returned to the lineup, his first game action since March 6th.